Stripers: The big fish bite for the stripers is here. As always for this time of year, we are not catching as many fish as later in the spring but we are making up for it in size. Early spring is by far the best time to catch a trophy striper on Lanier. The big females are getting ready for the spring spawn and they need to consume lots of calories. It is not uncommon to pull 14-inch gizzard shad this time of year for bait. Large rainbow trout work good this time of year as well. If the bait is very large it is not uncommon to run a treble hook in the back of the bait as a stinger. Pull these baits up shallow in the back of the creeks. The back of the creeks will be full of bait. Just remember when you are pulling these big baits you are only going to average a few bites a trip. The bucktail bite still has not taken off so it could happen any day. We just need several days of good sunshine to warm the water. We have already had some warms days but the problem has been the cloud cover. The fishing will change quickly with sunny days that are calm.
Bass: Like everything else on the lake, once the water temperature finally warms into the mid-fifties the bass fishing will begin to change significantly. Late in the evenings, be sure to keep a crankbait like a Bomber 6A Baby Bass or a shad colored SR7 Rapala Shad Rap ready to cast to shallow areas. This technique is usually better later in the day when the shallow water has time to warm from the sun. Stained water is a plus. Jerk baits will begin to be effective as well. Be sure to rip the bait and let it pause and the fish will bite on the pause. The expensive Lucky Craft and MegaBass jerk baits are well worth the money when it comes to jerk baits. Some of these baits are as high as thirty dollars. If its cloudy, try the shell white Lucky Craft Flash Minnow. If it is sunny, try the Clown color or Aurora Black. If the sun is bright, do not hesitate to fish the docks with a 3/16oz. Spotsticker jighead with a finesse worm. On Lanier, green pumpkin is the primary worm color.
Crappie: The crappie are already concentrated under the deep-water docks and moving shallower as the water temperature increases. . The better fishing for the most part will be on the north end of the lake due to the stained water. The number of crappie per acre of water is higher on the north end as well. Every year Thompson Creek, Wahoo Creek, and Yellow Creek do very well. The stained water is very important to the crappie fishing on Lanier. The crappie are too spooky in the clear water. Not that they can’t be caught in clear water. You just have to catch a few and leave for thirty minutes and then come back and start again. The lure of choice is any 1/32 ounce chartreuse and white jig. You really need the very lightweight jig for the slow fall. If the water is very stained go to a red and chartreuse jig. The fish will almost always be in the shade of the docks. The best docks will be the ones that hold brush. Look for rod holders and minnow buckets on the docks to help narrow your search and save you time. If March is warmer than normal, look for the crappie to go ahead and pull shallow on the brush to spawn. Anchor near the brush and cast crappie minnows as close to the brush as possible. Use a size 6 or 4 light wire hook with an extra long shank. To be exact, use a 202ELR hook by Eagle Claw. If you are close enough to the brush use a weightless float. If you have kids with you, be sure to use the weighted floats. Most of the weighted floats will be orange or chartreuse with a small ring of lead on the bottom. One last thing, be sure to use 4 pound test line and a limber rod for the crappie. The crappie are very line sensitive and have very delicate mouths. Good luck out on the lake.